Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Patient centered learning through a medical-student driven global online community

Introduction:Patient centered learning and research are emerging areas in current movements to transform healthcare and much of this is done through online information exchange in globally connected networks.This process is also termed 'User Driven healthcare which aims at improved healthcare through clinical problem solving utilizing concerted experiential learning in conversations between multiple users and stakeholders, primarily patients, health professionals, and other actors in a care giving collaborative network across a Web interface. The term "user" includes health professionals as well as patients and anyone who uses the web with a user name. These "users" generate an information flow that "drives" the system's workflow (hence the choice of the term "driven"). Our current work attempts to focus on the contributions and learning of the medical student 'user.'
Methods:Qualitative analyses of web-based interactions between the health professional student members of the UDHC network engaged in ‘patient centered learning' around ‘real-patient’ problems uploaded to http://www.udhc.co.in/ by our 'patient information communication manager and research assistant' funded by LN Medical College.Results:All patients suffered from chronic diseases, experienced conventional medical care, were highly motivated, and assisted by a social worker to seek solutions. The patients received multidisciplinary inputs from multiple specialists and generalists. The caregivers felt this was one of the strengths of the system. Students involved with the system have benefited from the impact of learning medicine from real-life situations with real outcomes and consequences.There was some concern regarding the maintenance of patient confidentiality and privacy. A solution was devised by automatic allocation of botanical names and manual de-identification of uploaded files as per standard international HIPAA guidelines.Discussion and Conclusions:Patient centered care has been hidden at the core of medical practice since time immemorial and current information technology (IT) has the potential to amplify it in a radical manner. IT may allow different groups of computer users such as patients as well as health professionals to experience patient centered care in an optimal manner. This presentation describes the work of medical student users with the 'User Driven Health Care' UDHC network that has currently piloted in rural and urban Indian locations with encouraging responses from patients, medical students and global health professionals connected through the web. The network eventually hopes to propagate 'patient centered learning in India and globally such that medical students and health professionals take pride in their teamwork toward making a positive change in their patients' lives. It hopes to in this manner utilize patient centered learning to build a vital bridge between basic and clinical science professionals that may translate bedside patient needs to solutions from the bench.

Go to http://www.udhc.co.in/ and click on inputs and enter 462 to see all the cases uploaded by
our 'patient information communication manager and research assistant' funded by LN Medical College.

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